It seems as though Honey and her friends are the best hope of finding young Bean, especially with the help of one of the best noses around, but it soon becomes clear that there is a deeper mystery at work here. Bean is not the first puppy to go missing in the neighbourhood, and all the dogs are unsettled like their humans. Bean going missing brings it all home for Honey and she soon finds herself caught up in the excitement of the case as she and her friends begin the frantic search for the missing puppies.
There were some unsavoury characters around when bean went missing - including a pit bull with a history of fighting and everyone is immediately suspicious of Max and his human. But things are not so simple, and Honey and her friends will have to solve a puzzle or two if they want to get to the bottom of the mystery and save Bean.
Curse of the Scarab is the first book in the Big Honey Dog Mysteries, and I have to confess that I picked up the book because I know the author Hsin-Yi and because I was lucky enough to meet the real Honey and wanted to see what adventures she might have gotten up to in the books. I have to confess that it was probably a disadvantage to have met the real Honey because I kept seeing her and remembering her throughout the first few chapters, and it took a few chapters for me to get absorbed in the fictional Honey rather than the real one. I am very glad I persisted though as this has to be one of the better mysteries I have read for older children in recent years (and no I was not paid to say that or offered a comp copy of the book!).
Too often authors tone down their writing or avoid challenging words - most likely because they are worried the will out off potential readers. There are no punches pulled here, the story stays true to itself - even when it gets a little scary and gory. I loved the touch of Egyptian mythology that is infused with the story, and the way that you have to work a little for the answers rather than having them fall in your lap.
This is an addictive and intriguing start to this series, and I sincerely hope that more people discover this series as Hsin-Yi Hanna has a deep understanding of dog psychology and a firm grasp of writing that makes this a believable and exciting read best devoured in one sitting.
If you like this book then try:
- A dog called homeless by Sarah Lean
- The incredible journey by Sheila Burnford
- The dogs of winter by Bobbie Pyron
- Into the wild by Erin Hunter
- Jenny by Paul Gallico
Reviewed by Brilla